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Intel’s Brookdale to arrive early, support DDR?

Ryu Connor
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CNet news has this
rather ambiguous report
detailing Intel’s plans to get Brookdale, their DDR
chipset, into the mainstream well ahead of schedule.

Taiwanese manufacturer Gigabyte Technology claims to have, “code sheets of
its [Intel] unreleased products.” All done in an effort, “to prepare us and
other motherboard manufacturers to facilitiate its official product launch.”

Add to that the fact that the “Ctech Web site” reported Brookdale will
arrive earlier than the third quarter 2001, and you begin to see a bit of
sensational news forming. Ctech also made the bold claim that the chipset
will not support only SDRAM, as Intel has insisted in the past, but instead will support DDR SDRAM.
This is in direct contrast to a certain Mountain View,
California
company’s claims.

I remain somewhat skeptical. Intel has had the apperance of getting things
in gear the last couple of months. Timna was axed before it destroyed
any more resources. Price cuts the last two months have been brutal enough
to finally slash the price-heavy PIII 1GHz down 50% from its previous market
selling price. There was also the sudden arrival of a 500MHz mobile PIII that
could likely be powered by a hamster in a wheel. Timing and execution, a
business aspect that management lost last year, is finally on the lips of
Intel again.

Given these current trends, I guess it doesn’t seem all that far-fetched that
Intel might be set to release Brookdale early. I have to wonder if an earlier release
would also signal an on-time or better arrival of Foster, P4 SMP, and maybe even 2GHz chips.

Again, though, I find my skepticism weighing heavily against the idea. CNet
acts as if Gigabyte received actual Brookdale samples. Gigabyte said
nothing of the sort, though. All they received were the white papers
necessary to create a layout sans chipset. While that sounds all well and
good, it is sort of hard to validate a motherboard without a chipset
attached.

The arrival of Brookdale early also stirs up the hornet’s nest called Rambus.
Intel has tread fairly lightly against the litigous IP company in
the past. Rambus has also made quite clear that Brookdale’s release would represent an act of war.
Is Intel ready to level its sixteen-inch deck guns at the company and dare
them to take action? Is Rambus actually dumb enough to bite the hand that feeds it?

Then there is the whole issue of the P4 on DDR. I have a sneaking
suspicion that the flagship processor might only get slower with DDR. There
are certainly enough differences between Rambus and DDR to make it hard to reach
a fair conclusion in advance. Sound off and tell me what you think.

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